News Columns & Blogs

A Little Help From Our Friends

I think it’s been proven time and again that our photo staff is at it’s finest when there’s bad weather out there.  We’ve won numerous awards over the years for our coverage of deadly tornadoes as well as other significant weather events that have come through our area. But the fact is, that as talented as our staff is, we just can’t be everywhere at just the right time. Sunday afternoon is a prime example.  Travis Heying, working on his day off, was roaming the area looking for the funnels that were barreling through the county.

Travis is experienced at finding and photographing tornadoes as his portfolio would prove. Do you remember the awesome photo of the farmer watching a tornado along side a rainbow? That was his.  But Sunday he just couldn’t catch up with these quick moving storms west of Wichita.  I reassured him that we had some damage photos from the Lake Afton area shot by our correspondent Aaron Eisenhauer and we’d have enough photos for our story.  Of course I’d rather have an actual photo of the tornado but I know how elusive these things can be.

 What happened next was like a gift from heaven.  Sunday night news editor Suzanne Tobias received an e-mail from a friend whose daughter, Janelle Neises, shot a photo of the tornado west of Wichita with her cell phone camera.

photo by Janelle Neises

photo by Janelle Neises

 The photo was attached to the e-mail and it looked pretty good.  Ok, maybe not the greatest photo of a tornado I’ve seen in my life but it was the best one I’ve seen all day and we thanked her and asked her permission to run it online and in our newspaper, which we did.

 But back to my statement that our photographers can’t be everywhere at the right time. When we can’t get the shot we often depend on our readers to send us their storm photos, especially around tornado season.  We will never advocate putting yourself in harms way to get a photo of a potentially deadly storm, in fact, please take every precaution to protect yourself and your family.  But if you just happen to shoot a  photo of a tornado, tornado damage or any breaking news event for that matter, please think of us and send the photo our way.

 There’s several ways you can do this.

 Log onto  and upload it there; it’s real easy.  If you’d rather call us up and tell us of your great photo first, try calling 316-268-6231, 6225, 6640, or 6351.  We want to see your photos and sometimes they’ll make it to the front page of our paper, but almost always we will have a home for it at

So thanks Janelle for the tornado photo and thanks to everyone who thinks of us when they shoot a photo.